Garage sign containing inappropriate apostrophes.
Garage sign containing inappropriate apostrophes.
A car crash of grammatical inappropriateness. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Keith

As usual, Stephen Fry is absolutely right.

The national treasure has repeatedly and correctly insisted that the English language is a living, breathing thing that cannot and should not be constrained. Least of all by middle-aged pedants trying desperately to exert what little control they have over a fast-changing world by clinging onto some misplaced sense of correctness.

Us middle-aged pedants might not like the way the linguistic sands constantly shift beneath us but there’s nothing we can do about it. And that’s just the way it should be. …


The Champs-Élysées at night, with fast-moving traffic going both ways.
The Champs-Élysées at night, with fast-moving traffic going both ways.
The Champs-Élysées on a Saturday night — not for the faint-hearted cyclist. Or is it?

Rants are always pointless but my latest one took pointlessness to a whole new level. First, it was on Twitter, where howling into the void while no one listens is pretty much all anyone does. Second, it was about cycling, surely the most polarising topic in the UK (with the possible exception of Brexit).

So what triggered my rant? It was a halfwit’s response to advice from a traffic cop about the best way to pass cyclists in a car. …


Gulls flying in a deep blue sky
Gulls flying in a deep blue sky
This is their realm, not ours.

I have teetered on the brink of mental illness twice. Both occasions were work-related — one near the start of my career and one just a couple of years ago. Both came out of nowhere and shocked me to my core.

The more recent experience came about due to an ill-judged attempt to be someone I’m not for the sake of steady employment. I was the wrong person in the wrong job with the wrong boss. It was only a matter of time before something went wrong.

And boy did it go wrong! The causes are gloriously irrelevant now; suffice…


Dog. Mine, not hers.

There’s a woman who walks her dogs in the park when I walk mine every morning.

Hers are two friendly black and white spaniels with curiously bulbous foreheads.

Every time I see her — which is almost every day — the woman is glued to her phone, interrupting conversations only occasionally to throw balls for the dogs, scoop up their shit or issue instructions. Otherwise she’s unremarkable.

Or at least she was until an exchange we had a few weeks ago. I was looking for a photograph for the weekly photo challenge I run on Facebook. …

Martin Thomas

I write stuff, generally for other people. I also cycle and take photographs, generally for myself.

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